Library Assistant II, Leon Levy Dental Medicine Library, University of Pennsylvania
Master of Science in Library and Information Science, Drexel University ‘12
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro ‘10
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, Humanities, University of North Carolina at Greensboro ‘08
Penn librarian Sarah Bauman has always been passionate about learning and has a wide array of interests. “That’s partly why I became a librarian,” she says. As an employee of the University, she is able to use her tuition benefit to complement her self-guided study with formal coursework at Penn. Sarah is enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Studies program, which allows her to select undergraduate-level courses a la carte from across the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and other select schools at Penn. Sarah says she chose this program for its flexibility. “When you're in college, you have to take all the required classes. It's hard to be adventurous and take courses just for fun,” she says. “With the Post-Baccalaureate Studies program, you get to explore topics that you were always interested in that you didn’t have time for in the past,” she adds. There is no set timeline for the program, so Sarah can take classes on and off at her own pace as her schedule allows.
Some of the first classes that Sarah took were in art and design. “Everybody in my family is a visual artist except me,” she laughs. “Now I have a newfound respect for them, because those classes were tough! They required a lot of time and dedication,” she says. In one class, Sarah learned to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which she says are “invaluable skills for everyday life, but also for work since I make a lot of signs and pamphlets for library patrons.” She then took a digital photography course and applied her new skills in a poignant series of family photographs. Sarah followed that with an intro-level drawing class.
Students in the Post-Baccalaureate Studies program can enroll in Penn LPS Online courses and certificates, which Sarah has also done. “I like the certificates because you feel a sense of accomplishment in finishing a course of study, and it's something to add to my resume,” she says. Sarah has completed the Certificate in Professional Writing and is halfway through the Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology. After that, she has her eye on an elementary Italian class.
Sarah says time management is key for balancing school with responsibilities at work and life, and that doing a little bit of schoolwork each day is ideal. She also cautions that “any class you take at Penn is going to be challenging, so you want to be realistic with your goals.” Sarah has had to budget between 10 and 20 hours per week for each of the accelerated courses she has taken through Penn LPS Online, which pack a full semester’s worth of content into eight weeks. “Finding time to do something you enjoy outside of school and work is also tremendously important,” she says. Taking courses at Penn has made Sarah feel more camaraderie with the students she serves at the library. She says now she understands how challenging, and rewarding, it is to be a Penn student. “I'm amazed at how bright and dedicated the students are,” she adds. She also says that taking courses at Penn and going to student events have been “a great way to socialize and make new friends.”